Get Digitally Secure Before it’s Mandatory

Friday, June 17, 2011

Robert Siciliano

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For the past decade, much of banking has taken place online, after hundreds of years of traditional banking.

Banks have streamlined their processes, but must also cope with fraud. With banks absorbing billions in losses, consumers also pay.

In a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. residents, 60% responded that dealing with fraud is the banks’ responsibility, while only 6% believed that responsibility rests with consumers.

48% said they were concerned about the risk of fraud, and 14% had fallen victim to fraud in the last two years.

Advances in technology have made banking more convenient but have also outpaced consumers’ security intelligence.

It is possible to secure systems against most cybercrime but that level of security often proves too inconvenient for consumers.

As long as banks continue absorbing losses from fraud, consumers remain blissfully ignorant of the consequences of inadequate security.

Meanwhile, other countries take different approaches. South Korea has introduced a “Zombie PC Prevention Bill,” which makes installing and using security software mandatory for all citizens. A New Zealand law reserves the government’s right to confirm that personal computers are adequately protected.

Steps to secure yourself:

  • Protect your computer by setting its operating system to automatically update critical security patches.
  • Always run antivirus software and set virus definitions to update automatically.
  • Use a protected wireless network and make sure your firewall is protecting both incoming and outgoing traffic.
  • Never click links within the body of an email. Instead, go to your favorites menu or type the address into the address bar. And be sure to check your online bank statements frequently.

You can find more tips from JustAskGemalto on how to bank safely online here.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto, discusses credit and debit card fraud on CNBC. Disclosures

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